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Do Sportsbooks Move Lines Based on Sharp Action?

July 26, 2021
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Like any smart bettor, sportsbooks will often use any edge possible to maximize their profits. Almost anything is on the table so long as it isn’t illegal. So, will a sportsbook actually move lines based on picks by a sharp bettor? We figure why speculate on the matter when you can hear it right from the horses mouth? So, this article includes quotes from two sportsbook managers.

Jay Kornegay, the executive vice president of operations at the SuperBook, spoke on the subject of line-movement based on a hot or sharp player.

“Oh absolutely. There are certain players that get a lot of respect from us. That means that we move it very aggressively when they play to their strengths. Sometimes it’s just a hot month, and we’re like, ‘He’s 27-4 this month. Incredible.’

Identifying a player as sharp vs. just being extremely lucky has its own challenges as well. It obviously takes some time and an established betting pattern to gauge whether a guy is a sharp. Johnny Avello, director of Draftkings’ sportsbook operations, had this to add to the matter:

“I’ve seen guys go on good runs that last all of the bowl season. I remember a guy going on a run in a bowl season, winning a million dollars betting $40-$50,000 a game. So he had a great run over the college football bowl season. I’ve also had guys that have had two- or three-month runs in baseball. So, yeah, it happens. Is it sustainable forever? It is not. But it is sustainable for a select period of time.”

As far as identifying if a player is a sharp or just lucky, Korneygay had this to say: “We’ve seen hot streaks before. You have to identify if it’s a streak/lucky or is it a really skill-based player. There are a lot of factors, and I’m not going to give up the whole recipe. But there’s certain things we can identify as far as with luck being on his side, or is he just a really successful sports bettor.”

I spoke with a man who used to be a “street bookie” back in the day. He asked that I not use his real name. He said at his level of operation, maybe 50 customers or so, he not only moved some lines based on his sharp players’ picks but he would move lines specifically for certain players only. Let’s say the bookie operated in North Carolina. He said he would know which guys were Tarheel fans and would always juice the line a half a point, sometimes an entire point if he knew he could get away with it. He went on to say that this was before everyone had smart phones with access to live lines. This is not totally ethical but it is what it is.

So, yeah, if the sportsbook thinks they can gain an advantage on the general public by using information at their disposal, then they will definitely move a line. It is important to know that sharps have bad weeks and lucky streaks crash and burn so if you are betting opposite of a line move or a sharp player, all hope should not be lost. A great sharp will make a good living winning 60-65% of his bets. That means he is losing 35-40% of them as well.


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